Old Xaverians fell short of a memorable victory against highly ranked Collegians at the Trott yesterday. The Red 'n' Blacks opened well enough, establishing an early lead, though the fast-moving Purples looked a touch smoother.
This proved the case in the second term, when the Lions dominated. Just four times did the Claret and Stout venture into their forward arc, and each time, the foray fell apart. Only inaccurate kicking from the home team kept the contest alive. As it was, the Xavs faced a 27 point deficit at the half.
The third term saw a reversal of momentum, with the visitors providing the run. Collegians' defence held strong under pressure, but Xavs managed three goals to give themselves a chance. A late goal to the Lions gave them some comfort as they went to the lemons.
In the final stanza, the Red 'n' blacks were relentless. Their courage to commit, to run and chase was evident. Collegians, when going forward, were put under intense pressure. Across the midfield, it was all Red and Black. But just as the Xavs looked like winners, two missed shots from close range and a turnover from a kick-in slapped them down.
Jason Holmes dominated the ruck and the Johnston brothers created havoc for most of the afternoon, while Luke Bisset and Chris Margin ran hard down the edges to set up opportunities further afield. A miserly Lions backline kept the Xavs forwards in check, aided on a number of occasions by the low winter sun which seemed to affected players and umpires alike.
Another close game, and another loss. Five games remain and the X Men, despite two tough roadtrips left on the menu, are capable of winning them all.
Collegians 3.1-19 7.7-49 8.9-57 10.13-73
Old Xaverians 3.4-22 3.4-22 6.6-42 9.10-64
Goal Kickers: C. Johnston 2, S. Ralph, M. Parker, C. Lane, J. Milhuisen, T. Golds, M. Merlo, M. Margin
Best Players: T. Johnston, C. Johnston, C. Margin, L. Bisset, J. Holmes, M. Margin
An undermanned Twos matched prospective finalist Collegians for all but the final kick, as the Lions stole victory right on the bell. Tristan Parker was best afield, running hard in the midfield, while Alex Browne looked solid in his return.
Collegians 2.1-13 5.5-35 8.6-54 10.7-67
Old Xaverians 4.3-27 4.3-27 6.5-41 9.7-61
Goal Kickers: M. Hess 2, A. Browne 2, J. Forrest 2, N. Nunan, L. Rogan, D. O''Loughlin
Best Players: T. Parker, A. Browne, J. Midgley, M. Hess, L. Rogan, J. Anderson
Fraser Lane booted four in a BOG performance as the Menages buried SKOB Green in perfect conditions at Stradbroke Park.
Xavs kicked away early and were never in trouble. Their win keeps them in first place.
Old Xaverians Black 5.1-31 9.4-58 13.8-86 16.10-106
St Kevins OB Green 1.2-8 2.2-14 3.5-23 6.7-43
Goal Kickers: F. Lane 4, A. Ongarello 3, J. Bergin 2, J. Buffon, J. Hanger, D. Nash, V. Crisafi, S. Grigg, T. Reed, J. Smarrelli
Best Players: F. Lane, M. Cain, D. Nash, J. Hanger, D. Frawley, G. Haddan
The U23s torched Collegians at Stradbroke, winning by 99 points. The Lions were held scoreless in the first and third terms, while Xavs were held in some check by inaccurate kicking.
The Reds remain second and look certain to meet the menages in the second-semi final in seven weeks' time.
Old Xaverians Red 4.9-33 7.13-55 10.15-75 17.21-123
Collegians 0.0-0 2.0-12 2.0-12 4.0-24
Goal Kickers: E. Watkin 4, T. Ingham 4, C. Bishop 3, M. Lowe, T. Lyon, J. Somers, P. Nunan, A. Bielinski, C. Wilson
Best Players: A. Maric, E. Watkin, C. Wilson, C. Bishop, N. Pirrie, P. Darrer
The Shaw Things, still beset with absences due to travel and injury, went down to mid-table St Bernard's. A poor first half saw the Xavs without a goal at the half, but they came home strongly in the second half, outscoring the Snow Dogs. Better days ahead.
St Bernard's 3.4-22 6.5-41 6.6-42 8.10-58
Old Xaverians 0.1-1 0.4-4 4.7-31 5.7-37
Goal Kickers: J. Catania 3, C. Niall, M. Perrett
Best Players: S. Turner, A. Sheedy, S. Stanley, B. Egan, A. Lamanna, L. Watt
Pat Allan's Pups recovered from a horror start to take the points against De La Salle. Xavs held DLS to two goals after the first change, grabbing the lead by half-time and edging away as the game progressed.
De La Salle 4.1-25 5.3-33 5.9-39 6.12-48
Old Xaverians 0.2-2 5.4-34 7.7-49 8.10-58
Goal Kickers: J. Kentish 2, N. Harries 2, L. MacKinnon, A. Eden-Lachowicz, J. Skene, M. Farrell
Best Players: H. Hall, C. Connors, J. Christopher, H. Berogna, L. MacKinnon
The Diles played with eighteen players and fell to old rival Prahran Assumption at Basil Reserve. The Two Blues established an early lead and the Reptiles, without any available rotations, struggled to keep the ship afloat.
Prahran Assumption 4.2-26 7.3-45 9.11-65 11.15-81
Old Xaverians 1.0-6 3.4-22 3.4-22 6.4-40
The WOX put up a solid score but were unable to stop a strong Caulfield, particularly in the third quarter, In that term, the Fields outscored the Xavs 36 points to zip, and while the Red 'n' Blacks won the final term, winning the game was a bridge too far.
Coach Young reports: A disappointing result but there were some really good individual and team plays that were highlights in both games, showing that players are trying to put into practice what we are working on at training. Two games to finish off the season strongly - four training sessions - let's try and get everyone on the track for these, stick together and finish off the season really well.
Old Xaverians 1.1-7 3.4-22 3.4-22 6.5-41
Caulfield Grammarians 3.4-22 5.4-34 10.10-70 12.12-84
Goal Kickers: A. Rhodes 2, G. Golds 2, E. Ko, A. Livingstone
Best Players: C. Rooks, A. Rhodes, K. Mullins, G. Golds, A. Harangozo
Caulfield proved too strong for the Frantastics in the WOX curtainraiser.
Old Xaverians 0.1-1 0.1-1 0.1-1 0.1-1
Caulfield Grammarians 2.2-14 6.7-43 6.11-47 8.15-63
Best Players: G. Cleaver, A. Clark, R. Percy, R. McAllan, M. Slingo